Can Non-stimulant Medications Treat ADHD Successfully?

Dec 26, 2023
Can Non-stimulant Medications Treat ADHD Successfully?
Most people are familiar with stimulant medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but non-stimulant medications aren’t as well known. Here, learn how they work and if they’re effective in managing ADHD.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is widely recognized as a disorder that affects kids and teens. But ADHD can affect adults, too. In fact, more than 8% of adults in the United States will have ADHD during their lifetimes.

Most people are familiar with stimulant medications (like Ritalin© and Adderall©) used to treat ADHD, but they’re not as knowledgeable about non-stimulant options. If you’ve been prescribed non-stimulant drugs for your ADHD, you might be wondering if they’re truly a better choice for you.

At Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP helps adults with ADHD manage their symptoms with ketamine therapy, shown to be effective even when other options fail. In this post, learn more about non-stimulant ADHD medicines, including how they work and why ketamine might be a better choice for you.

Non-stimulants vs. stimulants

Many people mistakenly believe that stimulant medications stimulate your activity in certain ways, but that’s not the case. Instead, these medications increase (or stimulate) the production of specific brain chemicals that help you focus and improve concentration.

Stimulant medications, like Ritalin and Adderall, are very effective in managing ADHD in about 70-80% of people. For the remaining 20-30%, these medicines either don’t work to improve ADHD symptoms or they cause unwanted side effects. In those instances, our doctor may decide to try a non-stimulant medication.

Non-stimulant medicines

Non-stimulant medicines work differently, depending on the type that’s prescribed. Some medicines increase brain chemicals like norepinephrine to help curb impulsivity and hyperactivity while improving attention. 

Other medicines are alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonists, medications used to treat high blood pressure as well as ADHD. These medicines work on sympathetic nervous system responses that may be involved in some symptoms of ADHD, and they may increase production of norepinephrine, too.

The problem with non-stimulant medications is that they tend to be far less effective than stimulant medicines in managing ADHD symptoms. Like stimulants, they can also cause some very unpleasant side effects.

Ketamine: An alternative ADHD treatment

Once used as an anesthetic, ketamine has recently garnered a lot of attention as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression or anxiety disorders. But the same responses that help treat those disorders may also be helpful in managing the hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors associated with ADHD.

Ketamine works by regulating levels of glutamate, a chemical neurotransmitter that plays a major role in mood. It also promotes neuroplasticity, helping your brain develop new neural connections to promote clearer, more organized thinking in people with ADHD.

During therapy, ketamine is delivered via an IV in your arm while you lie back and relax. You’ll stay awake during your therapy, but you’ll likely feel very relaxed — almost like you’re floating. You’ll be observed throughout your treatment, so you can feel confident in your care.

Manage your ADHD symptoms

If you’ve been unsuccessful in finding an ADHD therapy that works for you, ketamine could be the solution you’re looking for. To find out more about ketamine infusion for ADHD, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.